Ship of the Line sets you as a naval commander in the 17th century who is looking to obtain fame and fortune. When you come into contact with an enemy ship you have the chance to fight them (either by shooting at them or boarding the ship with some of your crew), or attempt to run away. If you survive the fight you will be updated on how much manpower is left and what state the ship is in. After several days your ship will probably need repair or restocking; at this point you must return to port. This is when your bosses will comment on your performance;– ideally they will offer you a promotion to a bigger ship. The aim of the game is to be promoted up the ranks until you become First Sea Lord.